Lincoln offers novel suggestion for coronavirus task force: social scientists

Author: Department of Anthropology
November 1, 2020

Assistant Professor of Anthropology Martha Lincoln recently published an essay in The Hill advocating for the role social scientists can play on President-elect Joseph Biden’s incoming COVID-19 task force. Pointing to social and cultural factors that have hindered efforts to respond to the pandemic in the U.S., such as the spread of conspiracy theories, Lincoln suggests that social science can help connect the dots between theory and practice in public health policy. Social scientists can target skeptical Americans with messages that they will find trustworthy and compelling, increasing their acceptance of public health information and the likelihood that disease control strategies will succeed. “A culturally competent pandemic response could mean the difference between a real recovery from the pandemic’s most catastrophic effects — and a ‘dark winter’ lasting for years to come,” Lincoln wrote. Lincoln also published an essay on the COVID-19 pandemic in Nature, and quotes from that piece have recently appeared in The Atlantic, the BBC, CNN, the New York Times, and The Washington Post.